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The biosynthesis, regulation and engineering of high value industrial and nutritional isoprenoids

Project Description

Plant and microbial secondary metabolites can confer important agronomic traits, they are often essential components of the human diet, and in some cases have been used as phytomedicines, industrial raw materials and high-value fine chemicals. These important properties have made many plant secondary metabolites industrially valuable. Our focus is the biosynthesis, regulation and engineering of isoprenoid derived metabolites, of particular interest are compounds of high value with industrial and nutritional applications. Many isoprenoids have industrial relevance with global markets in the range of $ 1 billion per annum. A contributing factor to the high cost of these molecules resides in the fact that they are produced in low yields by slow growing plant species. It is therefore not surprising that total or semi-synthetic chemical synthesis is presently the method of choice for obtaining many of these isoprenoid molecules. However, their structural complexity makes chemical synthesis expensive and difficult. The creation of renewable bio-sources of these molecules with improved economic and environmental potential is an important aim of our. Projects are available in the following areas:
(i) Biosynthesis, regulation and engineering of nutritional and industrial high-vale isoprenoids (particularly carotenoids). Including, pathway engineering (including CRISPR-Cas9 approaches) and organelle manipulation (increased plastids, altering plastid type, understanding intraorganellar transport and the enhancement of carbon fixation).
(ii) Identification and characterisation of QTL for health related phytochemicals. These projects include functional characterisation of variant alleles validation of systems biology outputs.

All projects wil be directed towards indutrial biotechnological application and use a combination of biochemical and molecular techniques including systems biology approaches (transcriptomics proteomics and metabolomics).


1. Enfissi, E.M.A., Barneche, F., Ahmed, I., Lichtlé, C., Gerrish, C., McQuinn, R.P., Giovannoni, J.J., Lopez-Juez, E., Bowler, C., Bramley, P.M., and Fraser, P.D. (2010). Integrative transcript and metabolite analysis of DE-ETIOLATED1 down regulated tomato fruit reveals the underlying metabolic and cellular events associated with their nutritionally enhanced chemotype. Plant Cell, 22, 1190-1215.
2. Nogueira, M., Mora, L., Enfissi, E.M.A., Bramley, P.M. and Fraser, P.D. (2013). Subchromoplast Sequestration of Carotenoids Affects Regulatory Mechanisms in Tomato Lines Expressing Different Carotenoid Gene Combinations. Plant Cell, 25, 4560-4579.
3. Perez-Fons, L., Wells, T., Corol, D.I., Ward, J.L., Gerrish, C., Beale, M.H., Bramley, P.M., and Fraser, P.D. (2104). A genome-wide metabolomic resource for tomato fruit from Solanum pennellii, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 4, Article Number: 3859.
4. Uluisik, S., Chapman, N.H., Smith, R.;Poole, M.;Adams, G.; Gillis, R.B.; Besong, T.M.D.; Sheldon, J; Stiegelmeyer, S; Perez, L.; Samsulrizal, N.; Wang, D.D.; Fisk, I.D.; Yang, N.;Baxter, C.; Rickett, D.; Fray, R.; Blanco-Ulate, B.; Powell, A.L.T.; Harding, S.E.; Craigon, J; Rose, J.K.C.; Fich, E.A.; Sun, L.; Domozych, D.S.; Fraser, PD; Tucker, G.A.; Grierson, D.; Seymour, G.B. (2016). Genetic improvement of tomato by targeted control of fruit softening. Nat. Biotechnol. 34, 950-952.
5. Nogueira, M., Enfissi, E.M.A., Martinez, M., Menard G.N., Driller, L., Eastmond, P.J., Schuch, W., Sandmann, G., and Fraser, P.D. , (2017). A new plant-based source of ketocarotenoids for aquaculture feed. PNAS in press (on-line 25th September).

How good is research at Royal Holloway, University of London in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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